Dania Ramirez was thrilled to join the cast of "X-Men: The Last Stand" as the super-fast Callisto, but she couldn't wait to be rid of her costume. She wanted to -- you know -- breathe.
"My outfit is so tight, it's all leather. I literally couldn't breathe in it," she says. "It was so uncomfortable. My boots weighed like 30 pounds each. My body just hurt."
The film--the third and supposedly final installment in the comic book series, in which the X-Men mutants confront a mutation "cure"--is also packed tight, with huge action sequences and new mutants including Shadowcat, Angel, Juggernaut and Beast rounding out the already large ensemble.
The film was directed by Brett Ratner, who replaced previous "X-Men" director Bryan Singer after Singer jumped ship to helm "Superman Returns." Once again, the story presents people--well, mutants--living on the fringe of society. Now, they're forced to decide if they will accept the cure, fight for its destruction or work to preserve its existence for those who want it.
Aaron Stanford (Pyro) says audiences will be able to identify with the desire for acceptance.
"You have a bunch of misfits and outcasts and people who just don't really fit into society, and who hasn't felt like that?" he says. "Then they're looking at these characters who, yeah they might be misfits and they might be outcasts, but they're also superheroes. They're empowered versions of yourself."
The issue of a controversial "cure" can be seen as a pro-choice allegory, with the X-Men who defend the cure's right to exist presented as the heroes. Whether or not viewers see it that way, Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) reiterates the timelessness of the "X-Men" stories.
"The main themes of the 'X-Men' still exist, obviously, about prejudice and acceptance and all that. But it now gives the individual the choice, and that's the issue that the X-Men are fighting for. They're not really fighting against anything. They're not fighting for the cure; they're fighting for the choice for the cure," he says.
That sense of responsibility is part of what requires the X-Men to make difficult decisions regarding their powers.
"When you're a kid, you just think about how great it would be to fly or to shoot weapons out of your hands, but when you get older you get more interested in the storylines of the price that these people have to pay because of the powers they have. All the mutants in the X-Men universe have to be very conscious of their power and how they use it and whether they use it appropriately," Stanford says.
As for if "The Last Stand" is really the final "X-Men" film, the actors won't confirm or deny.
"The possibility is there," says Ashmore. "Whether they decide to make it or not, we haven't heard anything about that."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun